Here is my Cubs mid-season top 30. I did a top 15 about a month ago so this is a revised and more in depth list. I tried to give in depth scouting reports for the top prospects and some of the content is a copy of what I posted before but I did update the stats and some of the in sights. I included Golden ( who hasn't signed yet) because from what I'm hearing he will ultimatley sign. It's a long read but I spent a lot of time and reasearch putting this together.
01) Brett Jackson CF Tennessee (AA)- Grady-light comps are pretty on point at this stage of his development. Like Grady I'm not sure he will ever hit for high average because he does SO in bunches but does draw walks so his OBP should make up for a lower BA. I've stated before that AA will tell a big part of how high his offensive ceiling can be and so far he's more then held his own. Defensively he projects to be an above average CF with plus speed, good jumps, and solid-average arm (for CF). While he may lose some speed as he matures it still should be enough to continue in CF. His bat speed and natural loft in his swing gives him good raw power that should continue to develop. He's a very streaky hitter. After a white hot start in AA he's cooled off hitting .257 in his last 35 AB but notice his 7/6 BB/K ratio. Right now I would say he could be a 260-270 15/15 guy with a good OBP lot's of K's. Potentialy he could post Grady Sizemore numbers circa 07-08. On my Cubs Top 15 I had him sloted 2nd behind Cashner but I've seen enough to move him ahead. Currently he's easily a top 50 prospect in baseball and imho probably a top 25. While most of these numbers were done in A ball or lower check out his career stats thus far ( mind you while he was a college guy he is just 21):
535 AB .316/.410/.503 slash line .913 OPS 16 HR 82 RBI 30 2B 11 3B 30 SB 11 CS 85 BB 132 K
02) Andrew Cashner RHP Chicago (ML)- Currently the set man in the Cubs bullpen and while I feel that the Cubs did him a disservice in using him in the bullpen with little chance of contending this year I still think he offers the potential to be a #1. Worst case senario he can be current top shelf set up man or future closer with the potential to still be a front of the rotation starter. Cashner features a mid 90s FB and has shown improved velocity later in games to go with a slider that is plus with nasty bite. His improved CU and command give him a shot to be an ace or even a comfortable #2 on a 1st division team. Look for him to contend for a rotation spot next year out of spring training and probably after relieving this year may start again in AAA in 2011. If he does end up in the pen ultimately his FB/SL combo should play something like Johnathan Broxton. If he starts he may have Justin Verlander potential.
03) Josh Vitters 3B Tennessee (AA)- Everyone knows my Vitters support and it pains me to rate him this low when I think he offers the best potential for an impact bat in the Cubs organization. His PD has improved this year posting 18 BB in 299 ABS ( just 5.7%) but better then his Shawn Dunston like 12 bb in 456 abs last year. Just recently he drew 4 bb in 5 days so I'm very encouraged. While he isn't hitting great in AA he still doesn't K at an alarming rate and is posting a ridiculously low BABIP of .240 which is about 90 pts lower then his MiLB career. Also sports a 19% LD% so look for his stats to go up. What seems to be forgoten in other prospect communities I write in is he is only 20. His sweet RH swing puts easy wood on the ball. The thing that I love about Vitters is in every step of his pro career he has struggled initially then come back and hit the cover off the ball. This says to me that he knows how to make adjustments which is something that is greatly overlooked by some. In the past I have mentioned Pablo Sandoval as a comp I think he could really reach this type ceiling. The problem is carrying a profile of Kung-Fu Panda into the ML is very difficult. He has a 70 hit tool and power on the 20-80 scouting scale. Defensively there are concerns but even if he ends up at 1B like some think it's his bat which will dictate his ML value. The Cubs handling of Vitters has bordered on criminal. He has never been spent more then a few months at any level and IMHO he needs to spend the rest of the year at AA and ALL of 2011 in AAA. I still believe in Vitters.
04)) Jay Jackson RHP Iowa (AAA) - 4 pitch arsenal ( all should be at least solid to above ML average), athletic, and improving command gives him a ceiling of a #2 but he is a flyball pitcher which may limit him to a #3 on a 1st division team. Not to say his flyball tendencies limit him nessasirly as Jared Weaver (LAA) has a bad hr/f ratio and is still an ace (do not take this as a comp to Weaver). He's improved his command but has lost some of his K's which does not worry me. I see Jackson winning a rotation slot out of ST next year and probably will get some type of work this year for the ML club. Thank your scouting department for this 8th round steal.
05) Hak-Ju Lee SS Peoria (Low A)- His bat has been heating up with the weather as with most Midwest League teenagers, which is widely regarded as a pitchers league. 390/432/439 slash line in his last 41 AB. Controls the strike zone but needs to add strength. Has plus-plus speed and plus defense. His PD and speed makes him a good candidate to be a above average ML leadoff hitter. His 6'2 frame carrying only 170lbs does show some potential to add some strength. Has 23 SB and just 5 CS. This is a bit of stretch maybe but I could see him developing into an Elvis Andrus type player.
******Players 6-9 are pretty interchangable so dont worry to much about the exact #***********************
06) Chris Archer RHP Tennessee (AA) - A high riser this year who features an over the top arm slot that splinters bats. FB sits in the low 90s and touches 96. While the FB can get straight it does offer sink and arm side run generating GB (1.43 GO/AO) this year. His CB can plus at times when he is commanding it and has showed an improved CU while finally attacking hitters this year. His command is coming along but there still is reservations about his ability to start. If he cannot he should be a lock down late inning releiver. Has been super since his promotion to AA but his command has regressed some posting 9 BB in 17 IP.
07) Trey McNutt RHP Daytona (High A)- The biggest riser of all Cub farm hands this year he has been nothing short of dominating posting a 8-0 record with a miniscule 2.05 era and 10.5 k/9 ratio between 2 levels. He features 2 plus pitches starting with a FB that sits 91-94 with late riding action and can reach back and get the high 90s when needed. His power curve is nasty and may rival Cashner for the best breaking pitch in the system. He has shown good feel for the CU this year. His command leaves something to be desired and this will ultimately dictate how high his ceiling is. Again thank your scouting departement for this 32 rd. steal in '09.
08) Christopher Carpenter RHP Tennessee (AA)- Short of Cashenr he may have the best current stuff in the system. His stuff is so wicked he has trouble consistenly controling it. FB can touch 97 but sits 91-94 with outstanding life and generating GBs. Has a mid 80s slurve that has bite and depth that is above average. His CU could potentially be a 3rd ML solid pitch. Has problems with command and repeating his delievery. Pure stuff he could be a #2 but command wise he looks like a 3/4 and may end up as a RH version of Sean Marshall out of the pen.
09) Hayden Simpson RHP (1ST RD. 2010)- This morning when I was playing with the top 15 I had him 12-13 but after looking things over I think his profile is eerily similar to Jay Jackson and probably sports a better repertoire. His FB sits 92-94 and touched 97 late into games in his last college starts while generateing a good amount of GB. While his size 6'0 175 (and I hear that's generous) may have scared some scouts off but it's his arm angle that matters most imho. Heigth is vastly overrated and I could sit here and name all the shorty's who have succeeded at the Ml level but I won't. J. Jackson sits 6'1 so I'm not all that concerned with his stature. Combine his FB with 2 above average breaking pitches (SL/CB), potential for a CU and commanding all 4 pitches gives him a real shot to be an effective ML SP.
10) Reggie Golden (2ND RD. 2010)- Golden had 1st round talent and I did see a few mock drafts that him going on the 1st round (not many but some) so getting him in the 2nd round was great value. Toolsy but raw he's the ultimate boom or bust pick. Standing 5'10 210 with a ton of power in his uppercut swing to go with above average speed. I love this type of pick in the 2nd round. His swing is rather simple and he's got a decent arm that should allow him to be at least an average ML RF. The draw backs are he swings and misses often and may struggle against pro competition unless he learns to recognize and lay off breaking stuff. He has star potential but has a long ways to go to reach his ceiling. This is all projection at this pont but he offers something the organization needs badly, big time power.
11) D.J. LeMahieu IF Daytona (High A)- I admit I was not really a fan when he was drafted last year but I have watched some video that has me somewhat encouraged. He has no real current power but I love his stroke. Controls the strike zone pretty well and may develope power. Has the look of very good UTL player. While he has 4 3B and 9 Sb I doubt that speed plays at higher levels.
12) Darwin Barney SS Iowa (AAA)- A winner everywhere he's been. While most will not have him in their top 15 and he's not a ML regular imo.. While Barney isn't a sexy player and offers little power or OBP skills he does have excelent baseball instincts and solid fundamentals. He should be poor man Macier Izturis type. He will be the Cubs UTL player next year and will get a September call I'm sure. Do not discount how valuable a player like Barney can be by spot starting, backing up 2B/SS, and situational hitting.
13) Rafael Dolis RHP Tennessee (AA)- As I'm sure you are starting to notice I put a good amount of weight in getting GB. Dolis has posted a 2.05 GO/AO ratio which is among the best in the minors. Do not discount how valuable burning the worms can be especially when you offer the stuff Dolis does. Dolis FB sits easily in the 91-95 range and can reach back and hit triple didgits. His SL which hits 85-87mph is a devastating pitch that is a true out pitch. He's improved his control this year while sacrificing some K's but if he wants to remain a starter he will need to refine his CU. He may not be a starter long term but could be another shut down late reliever. Here is a more in depth scouting report from earlier this year:
14) Jae-Hoon Ha OF Perioa (Low A)- More then holding his own in the MWL sporting a slash line of .295/.315/.426. Speed/power combo and very good arm. Playing CF but arm will allow a move to RF if needed. From numerous scouting reports I've read he comps to Kosuke Fukudome of 10 years ago. I'd have loved to see Kosuke playing in Chicago in his prime.
15) Kyung-Min Na OF Boise (SS-A)- My most agressive ranking but I love this kid. Very similar player to Hak-Ju Lee. Recieved 725K last year out of Korea. At 18 probably should be in rookie ball but is more then holding his own in A ball. Like Lee he has no current power but has blazing speed and already offers ML caliber defense covering lot's of ground and sporting a great arm. Draws walks and is a great bunter. Ichiro-lite? LOL j/k.
16) Thomas Diamond RHP Iowa (AAA)- Former top prospect, FB sits in the low 90s solid SL and John Sickles noted his CU is much better then earlier in his career. Could be a back of the rotation starter or valuable lefty out of the pen
17) Su-Ming Jung RHP Peoria (low A)- Another agressive ranking and I'm much higher on this kid then anyone else. Has a lot for scouts to dream on. Low 90's FB that can get up to 95.Shows the potential for a power curve. Both pitches are potential plus pitches. CU has promise. He needs to improve his control but I really believe in this kid.
18) Chris Rusin LHP Daytona (High A)- Curve ball specialist w/ a 88-90 FB solid CU.
19) Casey Coleman RHP Iowa (AAA)- I'm skeptical about him but his command and secondary stuff give me hope. Has been a bit unlucky at AAA this year but has the systems best CU and command. Fringy FB but can spot it and CB has the potential to be above average.
20) Kim-Jin Yeong RHP- Still has yet to make it stateside but got 1.2M last year. Projectable with a 4 pitch arsenal. FB tops out at 92 (could add a tick or 2 as he matures) to go with CB/SL/CU. Has above average command for a 17 year old kid.
21) Dae-Eun Rhee RHP Daytona (High A)- In terms of pure stuff probably deserves to be much higher but I'm still waiting to see if he regains his pre TJS stuff. Low 90s Fb, potiential above average CB, and once had the best CU in the system. Get' s lot's of GB which is also another plus.
22) Ryan Flaherty IF Daytona (High A)- I'm not a fan. Was old for every level as a profesional. Offers power but I doubt he can hit advanced pitching. I'm being generous giving him the 22 spot imo.
23) Robinson Chirinos C Tennesse (AA)- Geaovany Soto-esque late bloomer is obliterating AA pitching I could have him rated as high as 11th by end of the season. Power and on base skills but just finally starting to hit at 26 so I'm reserving a higher ranking till I see him continue this torrid pace at AAA.
24) Austin Kirk LHP Boise (SS-A)- 88-91 FB and potential for above average CB/CU. Has been outstanding so far this season. 1.94 GO/AO, 9.2 K/9, and just 2.3 BB/9.
25) Junior Lake SS Daytona (High A)- Seems to be finally figuring things out posting a slash line of .290/.382/.449 in his last 107 AB in June and July. Has improved each month. I'm cautiously optimistic. Still Ks at an alarming rate of 29% but is drawing far more walks then he did previously in his MiLB career. Has a cannon for an arm ranking as the best in the system. 6'2 200 frame projects for above average power. Has average speed but better under way. May move to 3B and has top 10 tools. Depending on how the rest of the season goes could jump into the top 15.
26) Logan Watkins 2B Peoria (Low A)- Biggest drop of any player since my pre season top 20. Draws walks and has plus speed. Uninspiring season so far. Needs to add power. Potential super-utility player (2B/SS/CF/LF) in the Marco Scutero mold.
27) Matt Sczur OF Boise (SS-A)- Might be a little premature for this 2011 5th rounder but has been ridiculously hot since signing. A little raw for a college player but has blazing speed and great on base skills. Below average power but showing some gap to gap potential so far.
28) Dong-Yub Kim OF/1B- This is purley a scouting report ranking. I've been anxiously awaiting his pro debut and I'm still not sure why he hasn't made it. Has much to dream about with his power/speed combo. Amazing bat speed that generates big time power. Was listed as 6'1 180 when signed last summer and is listed as 6'4 200 on milb.com so I'm not sure how much of his above average speed he may have lost.
29) David Cales RHP Iowa (AAA)- Potential set up guy who gets lot's of GB. Just 5'11 and 3/4 arm slot he gets good arm side run w/ a FB sitting 89-91 and a SL that flashes plus-plus at times. Animated on the mound he has a bulldog mentality. Should be in the pen either late this year or out of ST next year.
30) Matt Cerda 2B Peoria (Low A)- Scrappy little guy who's an on base machine. Playing 3B right now but will be a 2B.
SYSTEM OVERVIEW- Even with the graduation Starlin Castro (top 25 prospect in baseball coming into this year) and Tyler Colvin the system is still very very deep. It offers top end high impact talent in BJax, Cash, Vitters, Lee and potentially Golden as well as good 2nd tier talent in J.Jackson, Archer, McNutt, Simpson, Carpenter, and Dolis. It also has a bunch of intriguing talent in our Asian contigent and Junior Lake. The Cubs are the leader in Pacific Rim socuting and the 725K we paid for Lee probably would have cost us 2 maybe 3 times that in Latin America so we are getting players at a discount imo. The organization did an outstanding job in improving the control of numerous pitchers this year. They are being a bit to agressive with some of the promotions especially Vitters. The system is deep in power arms, middle in fielders and speed. What system lacks is sure fire SP as Cashner, Archer, Carpenter, Dolis, and SImpson all could end up in the bullpen. It badly needs to add power also. Overall I love what the Cubs are doing and I think the system is top 10.
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